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April 17, 2009

I reject your accusation, Mr. President

I was stunned speechless when our president recently stood before European leaders and called us folks back home arrogant, dismissive and derisive -- thereby adding to Europe's already considerable contempt for America. That's why I appreciate this writer's reaction. My question is why more Americans aren't upset by our president's condemnatory remarks.

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Comments

Andy

You folks always neglect that he smacked the Europeans anti-Americanism IN THE NEXT SENTENCE. It isn't reconciliation if you don't acknowledge your own faults. Or have we forgotten "Freedom Fries?"

becky

I think many Americans are upset. They are the same Americans who went to the tea parties this week, therefore easily ignored by the main stream media.
We continue to be horrified that our president, who swore to uphold the constitution, who is supposed to be working for the safety and sovereignty of this country, seems to be more concerned with his image in other countries. One day he's apologizing to Europe the next it's Cuba and Central America. It pains me that this is going to last for the next 4 years.

Stephen

I don't think that the President was rejecting the history of World War II and such, it's more of the the image seen by Europeans of us RECENTLY. Why do you think Europeans think of us this way in recent years? When visiting Europe a couple of years back and talking with Europeans, the arrogance image of us was reflected in their words, was because of our leadership. And unfortunately, when we neglect relationships with our allies and tell the world "we don't want to be like France, or Italy, etc" it only reinforces that arrogance.

I can't speak for the President if he was referring to us being arrogant considering the sacrifices made in the past. But I can say that Europeans think of us as arrogant from recent events, not events of more than ten years ago.

Don't just ask me, ask your European friends why they think we are arrogant, and you may be surprised at what you hear.

Ben W

Yeah. I haven't heard the President's comments (will do that next), but I remember all the anti-France jokes, calling them cowardly and corrupt because they were telling us there were no WMDs in Iraq - and they were right.
Put yourselves in their shoes for a minute.. and recognize that even after everything that's happened, some ~25% of Americans still think we were right about Iraq. I have to agree with Obama - that is arrogance.

David

Does the term "servant leader" have any application here? Many people want this to be a Christian nation, yet the same people seem to insist that our nation remain the "leader" of the world - and strictly on our terms. Pride goes before the fall. Though he is accused of being the antiChrist, Obama is approaching the rest of the world with a little humility, just as Jesus would have us do as individuals.

Jason Taylor


Andy, repeated insults do not make people "acknowledge their own faults". If I called your sister unchaste would your first reaction be to "acknowledge your own faults"? At the very least, I should hope your reaction wouldn't be,"Yes, yes my sister is unchaste; woe is me."

Jason Taylor

In general Andy, I really prefer that others do not acknowledge my faults for me.

Stephen, it is not necessarily arrogant to not desire to be like France or Italy seeing as France or Italy have no desire to be like us. Nor do I really want them to.
As for "Ask some of your European friends", I really prefer that my friends be friendly.
And what is it with YOUR? What country do you come from? Are you an American disassociating himself from America, or are you just a foreigner seizing an opportunity to be scolding?

Jason Taylor

Yes Ben. And I remember all the anti-american insults by French to Americans which provoked all the anti-French jokes. I also remember that the fashion for anti-French jokes seemed to spring up right then.

David, nations are different from individuals and in any case there is no such thing as a "Christian Nation". As for "approaching the world with a little humility", being humble for others is a limited virtue and being a self-hating American is too fashionable in Academic circles to be a sign of humility. In any case Obama should have a modicum of respect for the dignity of his own office. And saying "I am Ozymandias" to Americans, and telling Europeans, "Oh unworthy us" is to a President what useing the mallet to crack nuts with during a trial would be for a judge.

Diane Singer

To the degree that the Europeans embrace all the destructive 'isms' they have given us over the years (colonialism, fascism, socialism, communism, existentialism, nihilism)and to the extent they embrace abortion, euthanasia, legalized drugs, secularization, etc.... I DO NOT want to be like them. The Christian foundations of Europe have been eroding for centuries, and they are -- if the demographers are correct -- a doomed civilization (the Muslims will take over through immigration and reproduction in a few decades). Because they are a post-Christian civilization, I DO NOT want to be like the Europeans. And to say that is not being arrogant or dismissive or derisive, it's exercising my God-given reason to apply the Truth. I don't want America following the European path though, sadly, I see us doing that every day (a process that is being accelerated by our current president with his foundational disdain for this nation. It's DISDAIN, not humility, that I heard in his comments.)

As for "why they hate us," well, because their liberal press is infected with the same "Hate America" syndrome as our liberal press. But whether they like us or hate us is not the issue. Bush's job was NOT to make the Europeans feel all warm and fuzzy toward us: his job was to keep us safe from further terrorist attacks (something he did quite well, thank you). Also, let's not forget the embarrassment factor behind some of their governments' opposition to our going into Iraq: it exposed their connections with the oil-for-food scandals, and getting rid of Saddam killed the goose that laid the golden egg for them!

As for WMDs... well, ask the families of all those dead Kurds about Saddam's use of poison gas. Yes, the intelligence (both American and British) was wrong on the nuclear issue. However, history is rife with leaders receiving bad intelligence and then acting on it. As long as we remain fallible, finite beings, I don't see that changing. All we can do once we see the mistake is try to fix it -- which is exactly what we're trying to do in Iraq and Afghanistan now, at great cost, both financially and in terms of human lives. As the wife of an ex-Air Force officer, I have great sympathy for the burden that our military families are bearing in all this.

And, frankly, I'm tired of apologizing for liberating 50 million people from slavery! Only time will tell whether the people of Iraq and Afghanistan will be able to handle freedom, but at least they have an opportunity to do something that a billion other Muslims do not: decide for themselves (for good or ill) how they want to live.

labrialumn

Our ancestors came to this country precisely because it wasn't Europe. They would be horrified to see modern-day 'Tories' trying to turn America into unfree Europe. Our ancestors left for a -reason-.

Obama refused to go to the graves of our fallen from D-Day *out of fear of offending the Germans*! Think about that for a second or two.

Since taking office he has mainly done precisely those things which are anti-Christ and anti-Constitution. You can pretty much predict what he will do and say by looking at what the Bible and the Constitution forbid.

I am amazed that people are still ignorant about our obeying the UN resolution along with other UN nations in dealing with Iraq's continued violations of the cease-fire.

Jason, but there is a ' Basilaeus tou Theou/Ouranos" and therefore there is such a thing as a Christian nation, which this one was founded as (and known as "that Presbyterian revolt" in England. There is more to the Kingdom of Heaven than personal fire-insurance policies.

LeeQuod

I get really frustrated when people use the term "Christian nation" as if everyone understood the term in the same way. Certainly, labrialumn, you don't mean that the USA was a theocracy or was even anywhere near Calvin's Geneva. Certainly, Jason, you don't mean that the USA revolted on the basis of the same Enlightenment principles as France. You're both far more aware than that. But consider your readers; they may be falling into precisely those traps of misunderstanding.

What is the difference between a nation founded on the *principles* of Christianity, and a nation founded on the *practice* of Christianity?

I look forward to the two of you thoroughly enlightening the rest of us.

Ben W

Diane, I don't think Europeans hate Americans any more than we hate them.. but there is certainly mixed feelings. Many of us Americans (myself included) feel like Obama gives our country a chance to redeem itself, a chance to say "Yes, you were right, and we should have listened."
Isn't it arrogant *not* to apologize? We were wrong! We screwed up! We had no legal or moral right to invade Iraq, and neither could we afford it.

And I know humans are fallible, but you'd *think* that the leader of the most powerful nation in the world could get good intelligence. This is not the 1800s; we have an unparalleled spy network.. but if he can't get solid intelligence, I expect him not to go to war. It was because of this (and the torture, and the economy, and my realization that I'm really glad we didn't privatize SS) that I switched from Republican to independent.

Labrialumn, I'm still ignorant of the UN resolution. What is it, and what are we doing wrong?

Jason Taylor

No LeeQuod, the American Revolution was not fought because of the screwy ideas of some souless French philosopher who lived at the indulgence of the Old Regime which he condemned. It was fought because the Colonies had developed an attractive local social and political system of their own which was threatened with forced assimilation by bureacrats who didn't understand them and thought them irrational. A mistake which the Empire would try with mixed success to avoid in the future in future colonial policy.

The Revolutionary cause was pitched in religious terms because New Englanders were like that and seemed to think Cromwell was still alive.
Scots-irish which made the second large group of supporters had a cultural disposition to killin for the sake of prespyterianism. That is when they weren't killin because they liked fightin, and cussin, and whisky all of which the war provided ample oppourtunity for.

jason taylor

No Ben, we do not have an unparalleled spy network. It has been paralleled numerous times.
And "many of us Americans" feel that we did have a moral right to invade Iraq, that "legality" is not the issue as it is not about a stop sign and most of all that "apologizing" is among other things another way to publically insult American citizens for the mere fact of disagreeing with Obama.
And who exactly are we apologizing to? If we are apologizing to Europeans then it might be known that it is itself arrogant for them to claim that it is any of their business. If we are apologizing to Iraqis it might be known that they prefer us to any present alternatives. And if we are apologizing to the world, it might be noted that the majority of the governments of the world are such as to make our "apology" rather ludicrous.

Ben W

Hmm.. it might be that the "reasons for fighting" were different than the "principles" upon which the country was founded. We fought for freedom and for representation, but the country's ideals and gov't were based upon Enlightenment and Greek philosophies. The Bible really doesn't address systems of gov't or earthly liberties, so I think it's disingenous to say our country was founded on Christian principles.

jason taylor

You are probably right Ben. Actually it would be more accurate to say the country had a Christianized culture-sometimes unusually so, enough to make even modern Christians feel uncomfortable. The one really Christian principle acknowledged was Original Sin, though it is not clear whether the writers of the Constitution saw that from Christianity or from empirical observation. Perhaps a little of both.
In any case the Bible gives few detailed hints about politics and many of those are ambiguous and can be countered by equally ambiguous passages. But then it doesn't tell plumbers how to fix pipes either.

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